Democrats of the Desert will meet Saturday, Oct. 23 to discuss ways to oust Sheriff Chad Bianco

Democrats of the Desert, the largest Democratic Club in the Coachella Valley, is scheduled to meet Saturday, Oct. 23 with the sole purpose of strategizing ways to unseat Sheriff Chad Bianco, a first-term sheriff.

“Our goal is to replace Sheriff Bianco,” Stephen Jaffe, president of the political organization, told Uken Report.  “The panel will discuss the best ways to accomplish that goal. e.g., what are the legal qualifications of a candidate for Sheriff, what are the personal characteristics of the ideal candidate to challenge the incumbent, why Bianco needs to be replaced, and in what ways is Bianco politically vulnerable.”

Their angst was heightened last week after learning that Bianco seven years ago paid dues for one year to belong to Oath Keepers. 

The group’s effort should come as no surprise to anyone. In December 2020, the Democrats of the Desert Board of Directors & Palm Desert Greens Democratic Club Board of Directors sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors saying that Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco is “arrogant, non-compliant and negligent,” In the letter, the Democratic groups implored supervisors to censure Bianco.

A political action committee comprised of some of Sheriff Chad Bianco’s harshest critics has also formed, looking to remove the sometimes controversial — and unapologetic — sheriff when he’s up for reelection next year.

The Riverside Alliance for Safety & Accountability has paid for emails, text messages and social media ads attacking Bianco, campaign finance records show — and is actively seeking donations.

“Chad Bianco is failing all of us, and he is a real threat to the future of our public safety,” according to a statement on the group’s website, “We cannot allow Chad Bianco to steamroll our community with his limitless power for another four years. The safety of our community is at stake.”

To date, Bianco has no challenger, which likely puts any potential challenger at a disadvantage. Bianco announced his candidacy in May 2017 for the 2018 election. He already had name recognition from having run for the office in 2014. When he announced in May 2017,  Bianco already had the support of deputies and managers in the department.

The absence of a challenger is appealing to Bianco.

“I must be honest and say I would prefer I did not have an opponent,” Bianco said  “There have been rumors of a retired employee who lives out of state running but I can’t see that happening.  We have come so far as an organization and in our relationships with municipal agencies in the past three years, that person would have to run on a platform of going backwards.  Knowing I cannot please everyone, I have the overall majority of support from my entire department and law enforcement from all of Riverside County.  Along those lines, the vast majority of Riverside County voters also support the direction we are heading.”

So far, Bianco continued, “It seems the only people against me are those loud small groups who want criminals out of jail, don’t want anyone else arrested, and those who can’t step away from party politics.  With that, there is always the possibility that someone will decide to run.  My run at this position was six years in the making with substantial financial backing and support at a time when change was obvious to all.  Someone deciding to run eight months before an election with really no way of raising the money needed for a countywide race would be futile.  I can’t imagine the platform they would present to run against me.  I would hope that common sense would prevail as to what is best for the county not what is best for them or their political agenda.”

Bianco said the most frustrating thing for him is that those who currently oppose him is that they have absolutely no idea who he is.

“(They) have never reached out to have any type of discussion, and base their entire dislike of me on their refusal to think outside of their political party,” Bianco said. “I spoke out against the governor, so therefore they must hate me.  I spoke out against certain media who distort truth and blur reality for clicks or reads so they must double down in their effort to print negative articles. My opposition so far has primarily been from people and organizations aligned with the extreme left.  Personally, I think that should be a red flag for everyone.  The irony is I am exactly who they would want in this position should politics interfere with their security or freedoms.”

The sheriff’s election is in June 2022, with a possible November runoff between the top two vote-getters if no candidate wins a simple majority. While Riverside County’s electorate is trending blue, defeating Bianco won’t be easy.

State law requires sheriff’s candidates to have either an advanced certificate from the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training or a certain level of law enforcement experience depending on their educational background.

Any Bianco challenger also will have to contend with the deputies’ union, which spent six figures on Bianco’s 2018 campaign and has defended its preferred candidates with mailed attack ads against their opponents. As of June 30, the sheriff had more than $481,000 in his campaign fund.

Image Sources

  • Sheriff Chad Bianco: Facebook